The UK’s Marketing Regulatory Authority said on Wednesday it had banned two ads from Crypto.com following a complaint.
The first ad, seen on September 1, 2021 in the Daily Mail app, included a script that read, “Immediately buy bitcoin with credit card.”
The second ad, seen on July 30, 2021 on the Love Balls app, promised “up to 3.5% annually.” The number in the text increased to “8.5%”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: “We have understood that consumers will interpret the claim ‘earn up to 3.5% per year’ which has increased to ‘earn up to 8.5% per year’ to mean that any deposit can increase by the highest amount offered.” .
The regulator added that the ads failed to explain the risks of investing, were irresponsible, and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credibility.
The watchdog also objected to the suggestion that consumers should buy cryptocurrency on credit without also warning of the risks of going into debt.
No fines were issued, only warnings that future announcements should include details showing that the value of investments in cryptocurrency could go down or up.
A Crypto.com spokesperson said that both ads were removed immediately after interacting with the ASA. The company has volunteered to go beyond ASA rules by ensuring ongoing compliance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s findings 2 and 3, which indicate fair marketing practices.
“We believe that building a fully regulated industry is the best way to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency, which has always been our mission. Engaging regulators to ensure compliance and build trust remains a top priority for Crypto.com,” the spokesperson said.
“We value the collaborative dialogue and engagement from ASA regarding UK advertising in this relatively new industry, and remain committed to working with them and with regulators around the world to ensure all our activities are in line with the latest regulatory guidance.”
The ban adds to a host of other rulings issued by the regulator against crypto-related companies. In December, it banned seven crypto ads, calling crypto assets a “red alert” priority. The companies included the eToro and Coinburp trading platforms; EXMO, Luno, Kraken and Coinbase exchanges; Plus a promotion from Papa John’s Pizza chain.
It also comes amid a marketing push by Crypto.com. In November, it signed a 20-year agreement with AEG to rename Staples Center in Los Angeles to the Crypto.com Arena. A source familiar with the matter told The Block that the deal cost the exchange $700 million, making it one of the largest sponsorship deals in sports history.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Crypto.com.